The Magic roster is, for all intents and purposes is complete. The Magic have 16 players on their roster right now. 16! That is one more player than the team is allowed to carry.
Someone is going to go. And the bigger problem is perhaps that the Magic are still trying to acquire players. Specifically, Orlando is looking for a third point guard to play behind Jameer Nelson and Ish Smith.
Who the Magic might bring is probably just as important as figuring out who the Magic might release from their roster. Fifteen of the sixteen contracts currently on the roster are guaranteed, so releasing a player is not entirely simple. And it is not only releasing one player, it is releasing or moving two players to make room for the third point guard.
The candidates for a buyout might be Josh McRoberts, one of only two expiring contracts the Magic have (J.J. Redick is the other), or Gustavo Ayon, whose contract is unguaranteed this year. It is too difficult to tell what the Magic will do. I highly doubt Ayon’s contract is not picked up, otherwise why would Orlando have done the sign and trade with New Orleans? And McRoberts could be too valuable as a trade asset to let go.
Either way, it seems Orlando still has another move to make before training camp opens.
So what point guards are out there for the Magic to get? Likely Orlando is looking to bring in a young player or undrafted rookie to be its third point guard. These are the kind of players that are extremely low risk and can learn and possibly develop into something bigger.
Orlando has already been attached to guard Josh Akognon. Akognon averaged 19.3 points per game in three games at the NBA Summer League. In his final year at Cal State Fullerton in 2009, Akognon averaged 23.9 points per game.
Akognon though is a pure scorer and not much of a point guard. At 5-foot-11, you would expect him to be more of a point guard and less of a shooting guard. But in college, he never averaged more than two assists per game. He posted only two assists in the three games during Summer League.
The question is whether he can develop the passing ability to match that scoring ability.
On the veteran side you have Derek Fisher, a true professional who has been solid throughout his career. But he is likely to want a contending team so he can keep winning.
Dare I say Gilbert Arenas? I won’t then.
Would the Magic be willing to take a stab and try to resurrect Jonny Flynn’s fledgling career? Flynn, was the sixth overall pick in 2009, and was supposed to team up with Ricky Rubio in some strange double point guard backcourt. Flynn never developed into a reliable point guard and was quickly out of Minnesota’s starting lineup and then out of the team’s rotation. He was eventually shuttled off to Houston and then to Portland.
Last year, he scored 5.2 points per game and dished out 3.8 assists per game in 15.6 minutes per game and 18 games for Portland. There is some talent there if he can get the confidence to play. Woudl orlando be a good place to let him play and maybe realize some of that potential? Remember, this is the guy who took over in that epic six-overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut in 2009.
A player like Flynn is the exact kind of player the Magic would want to bring in. He is young and cheap, with a high upside and the potential to be something in the future.
This is why a veteran like journeyman Jannero Pargo or former Magic guard Carlos Arroyo (although, he would be good for selling tickets, like he was in his first stint) are likely not going to give the Magic the same benefit that a player like Flynn would. It would not be bad to bring in a veteran like Pargo or Arroyo, both of whose production has fallen off and both of whom are well past their peaks, but they likely provide little upside.
Young players like Sundiata Gaines and Armon Johnson would fit the bill similar to Flynn.
Gaines started 12 games for the Nets last year and averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 assists per game in 13.9 minutes per game. Gaines might be able to paly some shooting guard too, so his versatility would be nice. Johnson played only nine games last year, but had a very solid college career and could fit in nicely as a third point guard.
As you can see, the options are limited. Orlando though still has to get rid of two players off its roster to bring in that third point guard. Free agency may not be the best route.
Orlando may go bargain hunting for an expiring contract or a disappointing rookie to try out. Sacramento is reportedly thinking about moving Jimmer Fredette, would Orlando be willing to take on his rookie contract and give him a chance? The potential is there and the Magic would have little to lose with team options on him next year and the year after before they have to make a qualifying offer.
It is just food for thought.
And the Magic likely are not expecting a big role from whomever they decide to bring in. This is, after all, just a third point guard as insurance behind Jameer Nelson, and, possibly, to compete with Ish Smith for minutes.
What should become clear is that the Magic still have work to do this summer before fielding the team they want.